Large amounts of money moving across U.S. borders can quickly raise the suspicions of border patrol agents. Those involved in criminal operations, such as drug cartels, terrorist groups, tax evasion and money laundering schemes may transport large amounts of money in and out of the country. For this reason, any currency exceeding $10,000 is subject to customs seizure at the border.
Travelers may have a perfectly logical reason for having in excess of $10,000 on hand when crossing into or out of the U.S. For example, one may have completed or intend to complete a Florida real estate transaction, pay off a debt, or assist someone who is having a financial setback. One may simply be setting off on a great adventure in another country. However, without declaring the money at the border, these travelers may risk losing it.
Do you have anything to declare?
Having more than $10,000 in one’s possession is not the issue; rather, failing to declare the money to border patrol agents is the offense. With a sound explanation as to why one has so much money on hand, a traveler may be able to pass through customs and not lose the cash. However, if agents do seize the money, there are still steps one can take to try to reclaim it.
Border agents should give the traveler a receipt for the property taken in a customs seizure. A skilled attorney will know the next steps to take to start the process of proving the money was not obtained through criminal means and getting it back to the rightful owners. However, time is of the essence. After a certain amount of time, the money becomes forfeited to the U.S. government.